“Skamouth – Where Legends Meet! The highly celebrated twice a year music weekend of Ska, Mod, Bluebeat, Reggae, Northern Soul, Rocksteady (& related sub-culture genres).”
Held at the Vauxhall Holiday Park in Great Yarmouth, Skamouth is a music weekender filled with hardcore Ska fans, skinheads (male AND female), mods and rockers. I landed this gig back in April when I had the pleasure of collaborating and recording my new EP ‘El Reco’ with Neville Staple from The Specials and his wife Christine Sugary Staple. 8 months of prep and anticipation, and the gig finally comes. Here’s how it went…
25th NOVEMBER 2017
6.30AM – Early start for us. After being told that we had to arrive for 10am, we knew that it was gonna be an early morning start for us Essex and London lot, even more so for our drummer, Alex Moody, who’s a Brighton boy. We were all on the road by 8am and heading for Great Yarmouth, us due to arrive for 10am to set up, and our drummer, Alex, due to arrive at midday. Sounds like a plan.
10AM – We arrive at Skamouth bang on time. We head for the V-Lounge where we’d be performing and unloaded our gear. Great stage, great room. In the words of Dan Smith (my sax player), I quote: “SKAMOUTH 2017!” Our very pleasant and hospitable sound engineer arrives for 10.30am and soon enough all of our gear was line checked and ready to go. All that was left to do was set up Alex’s breakables which we would do at midday. Our set is at 2pm.
11AM – We all head down to the Reedcutter Restaurant for an unlimited breakfast buffet and a beer, looking forward to our set time at 2pm. Neville then turns up looking dapper as always. He is still very cool. He asked when I was performing. I said, “Our set is at 2pm.”
11.30AM – So Alex should be here soon, then we can finish line checking and I can start putting my face on. The breakfast was great. So was the beer. Our set is at 2pm.
11.45AM – The phone rings. That’s when it happened – when my life started to fall apart infront of my eyes.
In the photo above there appears to be a little traffic jam in the top, left-hand corner – my drummer was in that. No fault of his own. What can you do in that situation? Word on the road was that the traffic wouldn’t be clearing until 2.30pm. Our set is still at 2pm.
My brain is going 100MPH. Will he get here? Of course not. Even if the traffic miraculously clears, he’s still 2 hours away. Even if one of us drives down to get him, we won’t make it back in time. Our set is at 2pm. Maybe we can go on without him. They won’t notice. But it’s a Ska event. The V-Lounge is huge, filled with Ska-loving skinheads. Of course they’ll notice. Let’s try and find another drummer here. But he won’t know the set. It’s an hour long set. How the hell do I explain ‘Barmaid Blues’ to him? Our set is at f***ing 2pm.
12.15PM – Neville and Christine to the rescue. They very kindly try and find me a dep drummer, however no luck because of set time clashes. Maybe we could swap our set with another band? Christine sees what she can do.
12.30PM – I need to start getting ready. Girls (or guys) – have you ever tried doing your makeup whilst having a nervous breakdown? It’s not practical.
12.45PM – “If anyone needs me I’ll be in the dressing room.”
1PM – UPDATE! Alex Moody has made it onto the A11. Christine has thankfully managed to delay our set until 2.30PM. Alex’s ETA is now 2.45PM, which should hopefully speed up. Worse case scenario, we’ll have to start the first 15 minutes of the set without him.
1.30PM – The V-Lounge starts filling up with hundreds of tattoo-covered skinheads wearing bomber jackets and DM’s that look like they could do some damage.
2PM – Alex’s ETA is still 2.45PM. We’re gonna have to start without him. My dad tells me that Alex is going to ring him as soon as he pulls up outside the V-Lounge and that he will park the car whilst Alex legs it on stage. The sound engineer will be there to help set up Alex’s breakables.
2.15PM – “15 minutes to go. Are you ok Georgia?”
2.20PM – “10 minutes Georgia.” OK.
2.25PM – “Are you ready Georgia?”
2.30PM – “Please welcome, Georgia & The Vintage Youth.”
We walk out on stage and I tell the audience what has happened. You wait 8 months for a gig and a drunk lorry driver causes chaos. I explain to everybody that the drummer should be arriving about 15 minutes into our set, but until then we’ll try our best without him. I may have also asked the room of skinheads, mods and rockers to all shout in unison when Alex arrives, “Where the f*** have you been?”. They liked that idea. And so we started our set of Skamouth 2017, with no drums.
2.35PM – Ok, this isn’t going well.
2.36PM – I think I can see someone falling asleep.
2.37PM – Staring at the door isn’t gonna make Alex get here any quicker.
2.38PM – Maybe if I just imagine there’s a drummer on the huge, unmissable, empty drum kit behind me.
2.39PM – This is the longest 15 minutes of my life.
2.40PM – A group of skinheads at the front are looking at me like I just shat in their DM’s.
2.41PM – I am dying on my arse.
2.42PM – Hold on, I see my dad making his way through the crowd towards the door with his phone to his ear.
2.43PM – My dad runs back in carrying drum bags and puts them on the stage. Thank. You. God.
2.44PM – I prepare the audience, “I think we have a drummer in the house.” The whole room is staring at the door.
In runs our traumatised drummer, Alex Moody. “And on the count of three….1…2…3…”
The whole room chanted, “WHERE THE F*** HAVE YOU BEEN?”
The sound engineer sets up breakables quicker than I’ve ever seen.
2.45PM – We’re playing Johnny Nash’s ‘Cupid’ and as soon as Alex hits the drum…
Everybody breathed the biggest sigh of relief. My shoulders went from being up by my ears, to where shoulders should be. And the world was good again.
3.30PM – We did a good job. Alex Moody was phenomenal and definitely made up for lost time. The snare drum sure felt a 6-hour car journey’s worth of stress. We won the crowd over and it will be a gig to remember for a lifetime, for very unexpected and unbelievable reasons.
Thank you to everybody who bought my CD’s and stayed behind to meet us afterwards. I’ve never sold so many CD’s at once, that was a new record. Thank you especially to Nicola, she’s a babe and her comments were very lovely and supportive. Everybody’s kind words made the nervous breakdowns worthwhile. I hope to see you all again.
I am still calming down from all that anxiety, but I am on the road to recovery and I think I’ll be ok. A special thank you to Neville and Christine Staple for having us and helping out when the shit very much hit the fan. One thing’s for sure…
Skamouth will never forget us.
Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Trackback URL for this post: